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Leila Sisson Case: Everyone benefits from ‘Miss Pearl’s wisdom and wit on manners

The joyous and festive occasions I’ve enjoyed this week were put on hold Wednesday morning to watch the live telecast of the funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington. He was a much-admired statesman and great leader and the service was more than fitting for a man of this stature. How special to see former President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, our neighbors down the road in Plains, take their place of honor among the living presidents in attendance at the moving and emotional Episcopal service.
Also in our nation’s capitol this week was my grandson John Barrett and his friend Courtney Minnix who were there for a business meeting. They also managed to visit a number of historic sites including several museums, a private tour of the U.S. Capitol and dined at my favorite restaurant, Old Ebbitt’s Grill.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week we had a chance to chat with a hometown girl and former nextdoor neighbor who is quickly gaining celebrity status but thankfully remaining her same friendly, outgoing self.
Former Americus resident Colleen Lipsey Sprayberry, aka “Miss Pearl,” returned by popular demand to entertain guests at the third annual Linens, Lunch and Laughter hosted by Magnolia Manor, and her pearls of wisdom on practicing good manners kept everyone laughing non-stop for almost 45 minutes.
I’ve known Colleen and her brother Paul Lipsey since they were in the car pool with my son Mark Barrett, when they were all middle school students. Today, Colleen lives in Newnan and is married to Stephen Sprayberry of the famous barbecue business and who she affectionately calls “Big.” They have two sons, Stephen Jr., known as “Little” and Wallace who answers to “Baby.” After Little and Baby graduated college and went into the corporate world, Colleen’s alter ego, “Miss Pearl,” emerged as the epitome of Southern gentility addressing manners and etiquette via twice-monthly Facebook videos recorded on her front porch or in her backyard garden.
Miss Pearl’s videos rapidly gained viewers and opened opportunities Colleen otherwise wouldn’t have known. “Pearl’s mission is to bring back manners and common courtesy,” Colleen said. “It’s about reminding some people to be nice and based on my own experiences.” For example, Miss Pearl addressed wearing the proper funeral attire, getting a business license, her family, never breaking in line, and she left everyone not only laughing but with a miniature candle as a reminder to let their light shine.
We all need humor in our lives and Miss Pearl is just what the doctor ordered.
Meanwhile, the luncheon drew members of varied organizations that competed in Christmas-themed tablescape décor competition. Lydia Romero announced the winners: Azalea Garden Club captured the Best of Show award. The Monday Lunch Bunch, won the Most Elegant Award, and First Presbyterian Ladies was tapped as the Most Creative.
Elsewhere this week South Georgia Technical College Foundation’s annual Christmas buffet was just delightful and well attended by community supporters who were graciously welcomed by SGTC President John Watford and his wife Barbara Watford. Other members of his family present were his mother Doris Watford, sister Lettie Watford, and son, Mark Watford. It was again a splendid event with a wide array of culinary treats prepared by students in the culinary arts program instructed by Ricky Watzlowick and directed by David Finley. And we enjoyed First Friday downtown as well as the annual Christmas Parade Thursday and the annual Christmas brunch hosted by the Junior Service League — always a festive gathering. The holiday spirit is gaining momentum.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.